It's not secret the Chicago Bulls had the odds stacked against them at the start of this season. Their star player was to be lost for an unknown period of time. When he eventually does return, no one knows how his knee will respond. But Derrick Rose was not the team's only concern. Kirk Hinrich has been hurt numerous times, Richard Hamilton has been hurt, they've had to adjust their offense, they've had to rely on player they wouldn't have, and they have essentially become a different team.
And they've done so with some degree of success. All this can be attributed to coach Tom Thibodeau says Bradford Doolittle of Basketball Prospectus. He points out that Thibodeau's constant pushing, constant coaching keeps the players in line. He never allows them to stop and think about their woes for even a minute.
Rose won't be back until sometime after the calendar flips to 2013. Hinrich is hurt again. Hamilton got good news on the severity scale for his injury, but he's still missing time. There are a lot of woes the Bulls could focus on if they so choose. However, Thibodeau won't allow it. Instead, he has his team performing remarkably well given the circumstances.
The Bulls are 11-8 on the season. They play the Los Angeles Clippers in a few minutes and have chance to inch closer to third place in the Eastern Conference. That's right, THIRD PLACE. Without Derrick Rose all season long, Thibodeau has not only kept the Bulls afloat, but kept them near the head of the pack. It's a testament to his coaching and his players that the Bulls are playing so well without their superstar.
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